Chapter 6 …Man Up as a Father

Sup everybody? So today is, what is today? Monday, Monday the, alright, now I gotta look. Monday the 23rd and it’s effectively less than a month out before the release of the book. I’m getting excited. So today, for those of you, if you’ve never seen this before, this is the Man Up Project. I’m Scott Schuler, and I wrote the book, Man Up. One thing that I do, or I have been doing, is each week coming up to the book releases is reading a little piece of part of each chapter, give you guys a little bit of flavor as to what this book is about, and why I wrote it. So anyway, this week is, if you can’t tell by the title, this chapter is Man Up as a Father, Chapter six. I’m gonna read you something, and then I’m gonna kind of summarize based on something that I saw today and it really made me think, in a good way. It gave me a little different perspective. Those of you who know me well know I’m all about perspective, and asking good questions, so I’m gonna pull some questions at the end of this. So here we go.

This is from the book Man Up, and this is Chapter six. Just the other day I was walking to my shop from the house, and my oldest, Wyatt was outside playing alone, or survivor with his new Christmas hatchet. Survival shows are a favorite for us to watch together. He yelled, “Hey dad look, I’m chopping down this dead tree with my new hatchet.” Without breaking stride, I casually responded with a, “Good job Wyatt” and continued toward the shop. For some reason I stopped and looked back as I watched him work at getting this tree down I felt that nudge deep inside and turned. I made my way through the snow to where he was working at the edge of the woods and asked if he wanted some help. He looked up with a quizzical look he gets sometimes and said, “Am I doing this right dad?”

After a few quick tips on what he could do better, and some questions to make sure he was remembering the safety tips, he got back to chopping. Soon you could hear the tell tale cracking of the tree about to fall. With a little nudge from him, down it came. As I turned to continue my trek to the shop, the smile and look of pride on his face was worth so much more than whatever it was I so desperately needed to get done in the shop before.

Later that night, all three boys and I had a little winter campfire with the wood Wyatt had chopped and gathered. We roasted s’mores and listened to him retell the story of how he chopped the wood we were using with his new hatchet. After the fire as I was tucking him into bed he said, “Dad, thanks for teaching me how to use my new hatchet today.”

Heroes look for opportunities to be a hero, to serve someone in need. As fathers, are we looking for those opportunities to be the hero? I can guarantee you this, our kids are giving us opportunities every single day to live up to the hero they start seeing us as. These are not request to leap a building in a single bound, or destroy an asteroid hurdling towards earth. They are simple requests like, can you teach me how to ride a bike? Will you wrestle with me? Can you snuggle with me at bedtime? Can you help me with my homework? Can you teach me how to throw and hit a ball? The list of simple hero acts is only limited by your willingness to see them. The best part, in the eyes of our kids answering these simple calls is right up there with leaping a building in a single bound.

So as a dad, as a man in, this is the thing that got me thinking today. This chapter, that was a fun chapter to write. There’s a lot more stories in there about what the kids have done, what I’ve taught them maybe. But as a dad and as a man, there is something that I saw today on Facebook, Gary Miller, you’re the one who turned me on to this. I didn’t get to watch it all, all I had to see was the closed captioning of the very first phrase that he said, and it said being a man, he said I’m gonna say something that not a lot of men will admit, and not a lot of people want to say. Being a man is tough, being a man is hard.

I thought about that today, is it? Is it really hard? Is it tough? And I got to thinking about it’s simple. The things that we talk about, that we should do, not even just as a man, but as a human. I’m not a woman, so I can’t speak from a woman’s standpoint and I will never try to. Learned that a long time ago, like within the first couple years of marriage. But, from a man standpoint, being what a man should be is simple. Not always easy, and here’s why. I’m gonna give you a couple different things, or a few, I don’t even know how many I wrote. I’m gonna give you a few things that I thought of today as I was going through the day, and why being a man is simple but not easy. And I’ll preface it by saying being a man means you need to be strong, yet gentle, decisive yet thoughtful, protective yet empowering. Knowledgeable yet curious, firm yet fair, steadfast yet flexible, hard working yet willing to play. Willing to take that time to play. Honest when straightforward, yet respectful. And humble yet unapologetic for a job well done. And that to me is why what this gentleman said was so profound.

As I started thinking through this today, it’s true. As a guy, as someone whose trying to be the best version of a man that I can be, and why did these things come to my mind because their the things that I struggle with plain and simple. I’m far from perfect, far from the epitome of what a man is. But yet, I strive for this, and I’m learning about these every single day. And I talk about this as part of being a dad, how I was raised, and I’m grateful for the work ethic my father gave me. But the playing part I have to work on. I have to work on being, I don’t have to work on being hardworking, that comes natural. The being willing to play, being willing to put it down, to put the work down and play. And if you look over here, what is this in my shop? Nerf guns. And just to show you again, Nerf guns on the floor.

Anyway, one of the areas I’m trying to work on, even after writing this stinking book, what it does is it reminds me of that, being firm yet fair. Going through disciple this evening with one of our children, having to not be his best friend but be his dad yet be fair in my firmness. Knowledgeable yet curious. To me that says be careful about being a know it all as a dad. Be careful about not letting them, your kids, explore their curiosity and a different side of it, and outside of the box thought process if you will. Protective yet empowering, this stuff applies to every area of our life, but for being a dad you wanna protect your kids. There isn’t a drive that’s much bigger to me than protection for my family. Say what you want about me, do what you want to me, but you mess with my family and that’s when crap goes south.

Being that protective part, wanting to protect them, keep them safe yet empowering them to learn from mistakes on their own. To experience life and to learn from life without hovering over them like a helicopter and smothering them and keeping them from learning. Strong yet gentle, that whole piece of meekness isn’t weakness, it’s really strength under control. And as strength under control comes in discipline, when it’s time to discipline it comes in when they’ve done something that you don’t agree with. And if you’re a parent you know this stuff. I’m not preaching to the choir on this, I know that. And then the other thing is humility yet unapologetic for a job well done.

I don’t want my kids to grow up apologizing for being good at something. I don’t want my kids to grow up feeling like they have to be over humble because they’ve worked hard to become good at something. They’ve put the time in and the effort in to be good at something. Now I don’t want them to be pompous and arrogant about it either. There again, that’s that dance of humility yet unapologetic for a job well done. There is no black and white here guys, it’s all shades of gray right? Just maybe not 50 shades of gray, just shades of gray.

Anyway, that is what this is about, that is really why I wanted to do what I’m doing with this. I want guys to know that it is possible to be strong yet gentle, decisive yet thoughtful, protective yet empowering, knowledgeable yet curious, firm yet fair, steadfast yet flexible, hardworking yet willing to play, honest and straightforward yet respectful and humble yet unapologetic for a job well done. And still retain your man card, and be who you were destined and designed to be, and unapologetic for it.

Hopefully this strikes a chord, I look forward to reading the comments. For some reason I’m not getting real time comments tonight. Either that or just there isn’t any people watching anyway. But, hopefully if you guys got question of you want anything clarified, comment bellow and I’d love to. Hope you all are doing a great day, doing a great day, good grief. Having a great day, doing great things. Have a great night, catch you later.